TRANSIT SERVICE GUIDELINES - 2018 June 2018 - TransLink
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TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION 2 3 REFERENCE INFORMATION 48 1.1 What are the Transit Service Guidelines? 3 3.1 Vehicle Capacity Reference Table 49 1.2 Using the Transit Service Guidelines 5 3.2 Service Productivity Reference Tables 50 1.3 Understanding Service Types 7 2 TRANSIT SERVICE GUIDELINES 10 APPENDIX 54 2.1 Overview 11 A Glossary 55 2.2 Layout and Organization 12 B References 59 I D Demand-oriented Service 14 C Acknowledgements 60 D.1 Transit-supportive Land Use and Demand 16 U Useful Service 20 U.1 Passenger Load 21 U.2 Stop Spacing 24 U.3 Service Frequency 26 U.4 Span of Service 28 U.5 Punctuality and Regularity 30 U.6 Route Design 34 PE Productive and Efficient Service 38 PE.1 Boardings per Revenue Hour 40 PE.2 Capacity Utilization 42 PE.3 Passenger Turnover 44 PE.4 Cost per Boarded Passenger 46
2 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 1 Introduction 1. Introduction 1.1 What are the Transit Service Guidelines? 1.2 Using the Transit Service Guidelines 1.3 Understanding Service Types TransLink is the transportation authority for the Vancouver metropolitan area. It has responsibility for planning, managing, and delivering an integrated regional transit network—including rapid transit, commuter rail, and bus services—to provide access and mobility for people across the region. In consultation with stakeholders and customers, TransLink determines where demand is greatest, what types of service are most appropriate, and how resources are prioritized. The Transit Service Guidelines provide a framework for achieving these objectives and delivering a transit network useful to the greatest number of people.
3 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 1.1 What are the Transit Service Guidelines? The Transit Service Guidelines bring clarity and consistency to the process of adjusting and improving transit services to meet changing HOW ARE THE customer needs. They are founded on the principles of being: GUIDELINES USED? »» Accountable. Has clear expectations for performance, The guidelines are used to: demand, service quality, and customer expectations. »» determine where service should be provided »» Balanced. Considers customers first, along with »» design service characteristics the needs of local communities, while ensuring the »» determine appropriate efficient and appropriate use of resources. service levels »» C ollaborative. Builds upon partnerships with the public, local »» measure and establish minimum government partners, and stakeholders to identify and address levels of service performance issues and opportunities proactively and collaboratively. The Transit Service Guidelines are designed to provide flexibility in response to customer needs and community expectations in an accountable, equitable, and efficient manner. They also communicate expectations for service delivery to partner agencies and local governments, as well as to TransLink’s customers and the public. The guidelines typically define minimum thresholds, which are often exceeded when applied to actual service. The guidelines apply to conventional transit services, which include bus, ferry (SeaBus), and rail (SkyTrain, Canada Line, and West Coast Express). Other services, such as Access Transit services, are not included. Key components of transit service—e.g., safety, accessibility, facility design, and fleet design—are covered in separate standards and guidelines documents developed by TransLink.
4 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines TransLink’s ability to provide services consistent with the Transit Service Guidelines is influenced by available resources (in particular, available funding for transit operations), and by the REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION investment priorities set out in the Regional Transportation Strategy STRATEGY Strategic Framework July 2013 and 10-year investment plans. If resources become constrained, TransLink will meet these guidelines as closely as possible and will work to achieve consistency as resources permit. The guidelines can also help local governments make decisions about land use, which has a significant impact on the success of transit services. These and other guidelines, such as the For the purposes of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act, this document translink.ca/rts constitutes the long term strategy for the regional transportation system, prepared in 2013. Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines, can assist local REFERENCE: REGIONAL government partners to develop land use plans that support TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY the type of transit they envision for their communities. The Regional Transportation Strategy (RTS) sets the vision, goals, principles, strategies, and key initiatives to help guide transportation decisions in the Vancouver metropolitan area over the next 30 years. It integrates TransLink’s strategies for investing in system expansion, managing travel demand, and coordinating land use and transportation. The RTS also commits TransLink to advance performance-based transportation solutions that best serve the region and its citizens. The 2013 RTS identifies the Transit Service Guidelines as the tool used to “develop and communicate meaningful, manageable, and measurable transit service performance guidelines to clarify the conditions under which different levels of transit will be provided.”
5 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 1.2 Using the Transit Service Guidelines TransLink uses the Transit Service Guidelines to support decision- making related to adding, adjusting, or eliminating transit Managing the service. Application of the guidelines and resulting changes to Transit Network A Primer on Key Concepts transit service planning and delivery are supported by the Transit Service Performance Review, a regular monitoring program on the performance of individual transit lines and services. The TransLink publication Managing the Network Primer explains how TransLink makes transit service decisions to respond to service requests and evaluate potential new services. Changes may be considered to improve performance on routes that do not meet minimum performance translink.ca guidelines. These changes could include a variety of options, depending REFERENCE: MANAGING THE on the reason(s) for not meeting the guidelines, such as reconfiguring NETWORK PRIMER the route alignment to attract more passengers, adding more trips or using a larger vehicle to alleviate overcrowding, considering TransLink regularly monitors the how to provide an appropriate level of service on unproductive transit network to see how people use the various services available segments, or more closely matching service levels to demand. to them. Based on what is seen, adjustments are made to improve both the efficiency and usefulness of the network. This task is called managing the transit network. It involves overseeing the service planning process and developing policy guidelines and performance indicators for transit service in the interest of maximizing personal mobility. This primer deals mostly with the management of bus services in the region, but many of the concepts can be applied to other forms of transit as well.
6 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Processes to Plan and Manage the Network The Transit Service Guidelines are applied during TransLink’s regular transit service performance reviews, transportation investment plans, and ongoing community-based area plans. TRANSIT SERVICE TRANSPORTATION AREA PLANS PERFORMANCE REVIEWS INVESTMENT PLANS To help manage the transit Every three years (or more TransLink works with its municipal network, TransLink regularly frequently, as needed), TransLink partners and consults with the reviews and modifies its transit creates a 10-Year Investment public to develop geographically- services to increase efficiency and Plan, which outlines the key focused, sub-regional, and effectiveness. Each year, TransLink initiatives, capital investments, community-based area plans. They analyzes all transit routes in the and transportation services to provide a blueprint for aligning the system and publishes the Transit be delivered. The plan details local transit network with existing Service Performance Review. This projected revenues and program and expected land use and travel review helps identify trends and expenditures on transit services, patterns. They also guide future opportunities for improvement by as well as on capital, operating, investment in, and changes to, looking at the performance of the financing, and administration the regional transit network. To transit system and its components. expenses for transit, roads, develop an area plan, the range TransLink tracks several bridges, and cycling facilities of local issues, opportunities, performance indicators, including across the region. The Transit needs, and constraints are those contained in the Transit Service Guidelines play a role balanced against the regional Service Guidelines. This analysis in shaping expenditures for transit network priorities informs TransLink’s annual service future transit services. detailed in TransLink’s Regional change process to improve service Transportation Strategy. Area across the region and to match plans work toward achieving the service levels with demand. performance objectives articulated in the Transit Service Guidelines.
7 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 1.3 Understanding Service Types TransLink provides a range of transit service types designed to meet different purposes, markets, travel demand levels, and objectives. These service types are organized into seven categories: Rapid, All Day Frequent, Peak Frequent, Standard, Basic, Peak Only – Limited, and Special. All routes in TransLink’s network are categorized based on purpose, frequency, and hours of operation. Service types are defined independent of specifications for vehicle type (e.g., standard bus or articulated bus) and mode (e.g., bus, rail, or ferry). These characteristics are not defined because different vehicle types and transit modes could be used for different service types.
8 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Transit Service Typology WHAT ARE “SPECIAL” SERVICES? SERVICE TYPE SERVICE CHARACTERISTICS Special services are planned Rapid 10 minutes or better frequency and designed to leverage throughout the day, every day unique circumstances in the Evening service provided region. The three types of Exclusive, or predominantly exclusive, right-of-way like special services include: a bus-only lane or rail corridor; could be rail or bus »» NightBus – basic overnight service provided after regular All Day Frequent 15 minutes or better frequency transit service has ended throughout the day, every day »» SeaBus – passenger ferry Evening service provided connecting Downtown Vancouver (Waterfront Peak Frequent 15 minutes or better frequency in peak period and/ Station) with the North Shore or in peak direction; less frequent at other times (Lonsdale Quay Station) »» West Coast Express – commuter Standard 15 to 30 minutes’ frequency rail service operating between throughout the day, every day Mission and Downtown Vancouver Evening service provided Basic 30 to 60 minutes’ frequency on weekdays; may or may not operate throughout the entire day or 7 days per week Peak Only – Limited Service offered only in peak periods and only on weekdays; service frequency may vary Special Special services that perform unique purposes; covers NightBus, SeaBus, and West Coast Express
9 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Frequent Transit Frequent transit means customers can expect reliable, convenient, easy-to-use services that are frequent enough to eliminate the need to refer to a schedule. Three key transit network elements provide frequent transit and, though they are not service types listed in the Transit Service Guidelines, the terms are used publicly to describe lines or corridors with frequent service. FREQUENT TRANSIT NETWORK SKYTRAIN B-LINE TransLink’s Frequent Transit The SkyTrain network provides TransLink’s B-Lines provide Network (FTN) is a network of fast, convenient service within limited-stop bus services that corridors where daily transit an exclusive right-of-way with run every 15 minutes or more service runs at least every 15 high levels of frequency and often, throughout the day, every minutes in both directions reliability throughout the day day of the week. To improve bus until 9:00 pm, every day. FTN and evening. SkyTrain services speed and reliability, streets service may be provided by one act as the backbone of the with B-Line service may include or more types of transit along transit network, connecting key enhanced service features, such the same corridor as long as destinations across the region. as transit priority and customer the combined services provide amenities. B-Line service branding 15-minute or better service. is currently being updated.
10 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 2 Transit Service Guidelines 2. Transit Service Guidelines 2.1 Overview 2.2 Layout and Organization D Demand-oriented Service D.1 Transit-supportive Land Use and Demand U Useful Service U.1 Passenger Load U.2 Stop Spacing U.3 Service Frequency U.4 Span of Service U.5 Punctuality and Regularity U.6 Route Design PE Productive and Efficient Service PE.1 Boardings per Revenue Hour PE.2 Capacity Utilization PE.3 Passenger Turnover PE.4 Cost per Boarded Passenger The Transit Service Guidelines are intended to remain a flexible tool to plan and manage the transit system. This flexible approach—rather than a standards/policy-based approach—aligns with best practices for service guidelines. It also recognizes the role of the Regional Transportation Strategy and future Investment Plans in establishing priorities for transit resources. These guidelines are one tool available to inform service planning decisions.
11 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 2.1 Overview The Transit Service Guidelines are organized around three key themes: OVERVIEW TO THE Demand-oriented Service DESIGN GUIDELINES The guidelines within each theme TransLink coordinates with municipal and regional outline service performance, quality partners to align the transit network with existing thresholds, and targets that strike a and planned growth and development to ensure balance between being aspirational services meet demand and grow ridership. and achievable. These guidelines were developed based on transit Guidelines under this theme help TransLink performance in the region, and provide access across the region, including are backed with best practices connectivity to local and regional destinations, and in developing service guidelines opportunities for added service in growing areas. from other major metro regions. Guideline values are subject Useful Service to periodic updates, as the values are derived from actual performance of routes within To make transit a convenient, reliable, and each of the service types which comfortable choice for customers, the guidelines change from time to time. under this theme help to deliver service with reliable travel times, convenient points of connection, and appropriate time spans and frequencies. Focusing on the customer, TransLink’s services should be useful to as many people as possible. Productive and Efficient Service To ensure delivery of productive and cost-effective transit services to the region, guidelines under this theme help TransLink balance agency and regional goals related to equity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
12 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 2.2 Layout and Organization Section Title: Section Introduction: presents the theme provides an overview title with colour- of the theme coded label and important considerations 20 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 21 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U U.1 Passenger Load Useful What is it? Service Useful Service Passenger load is a measure of how full a transit vehicle is, on average, at its busiest point or peak on a route. Why does it matter? Passenger load helps TransLink determine how full or crowded our TransLink strives to make its services useful for as many people as services become while in service. If a bus or train only ever has a low possible. By making transit a reliable, convenient, and comfortable TIME PERIODS FOR passenger load, it could mean either there is too much service on a route REFERENCE: TRANSIT choice, TransLink provides more options for its customers, alongside SERVICE PLANNING for current demand or a lower-capacity transit vehicle should be used. PASSENGER FACILITY DESIGN GUIDELINES high-quality transportation services to as many people as possible. Because service levels and demand If a bus or train has a high passenger load, it could mean there is vary throughout the day, many Responsibility for delivering Providing useful service relates to TransLink adapting services to meet not enough service or a higher capacity transit vehicle is needed. A effective transit facilities is often guidelines have different targets and the region’s travel and mobility needs in ways that maximize ridership, thresholds for different time periods: high passenger load can contribute to a negative riding experience, shared between local jurisdictions, provide basic coverage, and/or support long-term ridership growth. While Peak Weekday: such as standing for an uncomfortable amount of time, struggling developers, and TransLink and its many project partners. With so the design of service will not be the same in every part of the region, 6:00 – 9:00 am and to get on or off the vehicle, or being passed up, which can lead many potential players involved in 3:00 – 6:00 pm to customers being late or missing an important connection. TransLink’s approach to providing service will be consistent. TransLink the delivery of transit passenger Midday Weekday: has a variety of policy, planning, and design guideline documents that environments, the Transit Passenger 9:00 am – 3:00 pm How is it measured? Facility Design Guidelines serve as identify approaches to improving access to transit and accessibility, Evenings (all days): a principal reference for ensuring including the Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines. 6:00 pm – 12:00 midnight Passenger load is measured using the peak load factor. The peak design consistency and excellence Saturday: load factor is the ratio of average passengers carried versus the across all modes, projects, and There are many elements of a transit trip—on the website or looking environments. The Guidelines 8:00 am – 6:00 pm at a map, at the stop or station, on the bus or train—that impact capacity or space available on a vehicle, expressed as a percentage. are intended for all parties Sunday: A passenger load factor of 100% means the vehicle is at capacity. a person’s perception and experience of the quality of service. 9:00 am – 6:00 pm involved in the planning, design, implementation, and operation While it is important for TransLink to measure as many elements The peak load factor is calculated by dividing the average of transit passenger facilities. of the customer experience as possible, many of these factors fall load on a transit vehicle at its busiest point by the number of outside of the realm of service planning and decision-making. spaces (seats plus standing space) provided on each trip. Such passenger amenities as good lighting, covered bicycle The capacity of TransLink’s various transit vehicles is provided in parking, and real-time bus arrival information are addressed in 3.1 Vehicle Capacity Reference Table. These capacities account for a TransLink’s Transit Passenger Facility Design Guidelines. reasonable amount of space for both seated and standing passengers. Context Sidebar: Reference Sidebar: offers useful context identifies other for the information supporting provided in guidelines or the section standards
13 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Guideline Title: Guidelines: identifies the provides the guideline guideline details for each service type 24 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines 25 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Guideline: Stop Spacing U.2 Stop Spacing What is it? Useful Service Useful Service Stop spacing is the distance between stops along a route. Rapid Why does it matter? 800m–1500m average Stop spacing has an impact on the speed and reliability of a service, as well as on a customer’s ability to access a service. Too many stops make All Day travel slow and transit less useful and convenient. Too few stops mean Frequent less opportunity to access a service, even if it travels close by. The need for fast and reliable transit service is balanced with providing convenient 300m–800m average access to the system when considering where stops should be placed. How is it measured? Peak Frequent Stop spacing is measured by dividing the total distance of a given route by the total number of stops on the route minus 1. 300m–800m average This measure provides average stop spacing in metres. While the average stop spacing on a line should fall between the ranges provided in the guidelines, the actual distance between any Standard two stops on a route can vary, depending on such factors as: 250m–400m average » topography » road design » land use Basic » location of sidewalks 250m–400m average Peak Only– Limited 300m–800m average Notes: » B-Lines or routes operating on highways will have wider stop spacing. » For areas where existing land uses will not generate passenger trips—e.g., agricultural, heavy industrial, or low-density areas—exceptions to the stop spacing guidelines may be applied. » Special: stop spacing for these services is provided on a case by case basis. » Standard & Basic: stops in areas with high concentrations of seniors, people with disabilities, and other special needs may be spaced closer together to facilitate easier access to transit. Theme Tab: Description: identifies the explains what relevant theme is it, why related to the it matters, guideline and how it is measured
14 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines D Demand-oriented Service Transit and land use work hand-in-hand to support strong, sustainable communities. The design of the transit network should meet different levels of demand across the region to support an effective transit system that benefits the most people. Though TransLink provides service Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines Creating more livable places around transit in Metro Vancouver throughout the region, different types of land use and neighbourhood design support different levels of transit service. TransLink works together with the region’s municipalities and other key partner agencies towards the alignment of land use and transportation investments, and to proactively address new opportunities to increase demand, seek efficiencies, and align plans to meet shared goals. TransLink’s Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines provides context for this theme. The 6 Ds—destinations, distance, design, REFERENCE: TRANSIT-ORIENTED density, diversity, and demand management—are described in the COMMUNITIES DESIGN GUIDELINES guidelines as important to framing land use considerations. Transit-oriented communities are Guidelines in this section are not intended to be used as a formula places that, by their design, allow for providing transit. Coordinating service with land use is, however, people to drive less and to walk, an ongoing and evolving effort between TransLink and local partners. cycle, and take transit more. In practice, this means they concentrate The Vancouver metropolitan area is a diverse region, and local context higher-density, mixed-use, human- is an integral part of the decision-making process. The guidelines scale development around frequent help to strike a balance between providing a basic level of service transit stops and stations. Transit- across the region and providing faster and more frequent service in oriented communities also make it possible to operate efficient, areas where demand is higher. These guidelines are intended to be a cost-effective transit service. The resource in framing this discussion among TransLink, local government Transit-Oriented Communities partners, other key partner agencies, developers, and the public Design Guidelines provide a more about where different types of services may be most appropriate. detailed resource for municipalities and other stakeholders involved TransLink applies different guidelines for appropriate types of in community planning processes across the region to further the service, based on the characteristics of the areas within walking development of more transit-oriented distance of such service. These guidelines come into consideration communities in Metro Vancouver. when providing new service or changing existing service.
15 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines The 6 Ds of Transit-Oriented Community Design The Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines are organized around the 6 Ds, characteristics that describe the land use and built environment elements that influence demand for transit. DESTINATIONS DISTANCE DESIGN Coordinate land use Create a well-connected Create places for people and transportation street network When land use and transportation A well-connected street network Transit-oriented communities are well coordinated, transit shortens travel distances, making it are carefully designed with the can provide fast, direct, and possible for people to quickly and needs of people in mind. Multi- cost-effective access to more conveniently connect with transit modal streets and great public destinations for more people. en route to their destination. spaces enable people of all ages Proximity to regional destinations and abilities to access and enjoy provides an anchor for routes, and a comfortable, safe, delightful, also influences transit ridership. and inviting public realm. DENSITY DIVERSITY DEMAND MANAGEMENT Concentrate and intensify Encourage a mix of uses Discourage unnecessary driving activities near frequent transit Transit-oriented communities A vibrant mix of land uses helps Transit-oriented communities concentrate most growth and to create complete, walkable use transportation demand development within a short neighbourhoods around transit management strategies, such walk of frequent transit stops stations and stops, and supports as parking management, and stations. A higher density a transit system that is well- to discourage unnecessary of homes, jobs, and other utilized throughout the day. driving and to promote walking, activities creates a market cycling, and transit. for transit, allowing frequent service to operate efficiently.
16 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Demand-oriented Service D.1 Transit-supportive Land Use and Demand What is it? The 6 Ds describe land use and built environment elements that influence demand for transit. Interactions among these six characteristics help to estimate potential demand for transit. Transit-supportive land use and demand guidelines indicate the characteristics of adjoining land uses that will allow transit to be productive and effective in meeting the needs of the community. Land use characteristics help shape demand for transit, which in turn shapes the level of service provided. No single land use characteristic, or combination of characteristics, provides an accurate indicator of how transit service will perform in a given land use setting; rather, it is often the combination of all six indicators that determines which particular service type is the best match for an area. Passenger demand is the level of consumer demand for transit services in a community or area. It can be thought of as the output of these land use and built environment characteristics. Demographic factors also shape passenger responses to varying levels of transit service and must be accounted for in any decision process. These distinctions explain why some routes with nearly identical land use characteristics can have widely differing performance, and why a simple formula cannot be applied to forecast ridership response to a particular type of service for a given set of land use characteristics. Why does it matter? Land use guidelines provide one indication to assist TransLink in matching the right service to the potential level of demand for transit service in a given area. Different land use and built environment elements provide one indicator of the potential demand for transit. Passenger demand is a key outcome of these land use indicators, which drives many decisions made by TransLink about where and what kinds of transit service to provide. Once service is provided, changes in the level of demand or ridership provide the impetus for a change in service type.
17 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Demand-oriented Service Land use characteristics alone will not always predict transit ridership response to a given level of service. When considering deploying transit service in new markets, additional factors are important in addition to land use, such as route and network connectivity, other mobility options, built environment characteristics, and demographics. How is it measured? There are many ways to measure and describe the 6 Ds. Some are easy to measure (e.g., the density of people living in an area), while others are more subjective and difficult to capture in a single measure. These guidelines use definitions of the 6 Ds identified in TransLink’s Transit Oriented Communities Design Guidelines: Destinations. The number and type(s) of route anchors and major destinations along a corridor. Major destinations include rapid transit stations, post-secondary education institutions, regional shopping malls, and regional and municipal town centres. Distance. The number of intersections per hectare within walking distance of a transit corridor. Design. How people-friendly urban design is, such as sidewalks on both sides of the street, buildings oriented toward the street, and parking tucked behind buildings. Density. The number of people and jobs per hectare within walking distance of a transit corridor. Diversity. The mix and variation of land uses along a corridor, such as the mix of residential, employment, and/or retail land uses. Demand Management. The number and types of demand management programs in place along a given route, such as paid parking and parking availability.
18 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Demand-oriented Service Passenger demand is a key outcome of the 6 Ds. For this guideline, the potential for passenger demand is measured WHAT INFLUENCES by weekday boardings, which are indexed by service revenue TRANSIT RIDERSHIP? hour. Passenger demand is also used as an efficiency The 6 Ds are one influence on how guideline (see PE.1 Boardings Per Revenue Hour). effective a service might be in meeting regional objectives. Equally Because the 6 Ds are indicators of demand, the service as influential is the demographic types also relate to the level of demand experienced along make-up of potential riders. Transit ridership is influenced by such a corridor. Land use characteristics and transit service demographic characteristics as characteristics build off of each other. A high-frequency age, income level, employment service is unlikely to produce significant ridership in an area type and level, auto-ownership, with characteristics that are not transit-supportive. household size, housing tenure, and cultural identity. If both service and land use characteristics are in Similar to the physical characteristics of an area, no one harmony, the ridership and productivity will likely or two combinations of these follow from the appropriate level of service. factors is an absolute indicator of a successful transit service. But, taken together, physical and demographic characteristics can explain why transit ridership is more responsive to a given service type in one area over another.
19 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Guideline: Transit-Supportive Land Use MIN AVG PASSENGER DEMAND/ Demand-oriented Service SERVICE REVENUE TYPE DESTINATIONS DISTANCE DESIGN DENSITY DIVERSITY DEMAND MGMT HOUR Rapid Rapid transit investments have been, and will continue to be, the result of specialized studies focused primarily on high-performing All Day Frequent routes. Investment decisions on these corridors will be reached regionally on a corridor-by-corridor basis. All Day High number 0.6–0.9 Generally 40–100 people High level of Moderate to 50–60* Frequent of anchors intersections/ operates in and jobs/hectare land use mix, high parking along corridor, hectare highly walkable (median) high levels of cost with low connection with and bikeable retail activity to moderate Rapid stops and environments supply stations are key Peak High number 0.3–0.9 Moderately 35–80 people Medium-high Low to 35–40* Frequent of anchors intersections/ walkable and job/hectare level of land moderate along corridor, hectare and bikeable (median) use mix along parking cost connection with environments corridors, often with moderate Rapid stops and dominated supply stations are key by high employment not related to retail Standard Medium number 0.5–0.9 Generally 30–70 people Medium level Low to no 27–32* of anchors intersections/ operates in and jobs/hectare of land use mix parking cost, along corridor hectare moderately (median) along corridor; with moderate walkable often has a to high supply and bikeable dominant land environments use form, such as housing or office/ industrial type employment Basic Low number 0.2–0.7 Generally 30–60 people Lower level No parking 15–20* of anchors intersections/ operates in and jobs/hectare of land use cost, with along corridor hectare moderate- (median) diversity along high supply low walkable corridor, often and bikeable environments Peak Only This specialized service type is directed to assist in accommodating peak loads in particular locations. It – Limited generally supplements regular service, based more on exhibited passenger demand than on surrounding land use characteristics. As such, no land use criteria have been established for this service type. Special NightBus, SeaBus and West Coast Express are specialized services that have unique characteristics and transit planning contexts; therefore, no land use criteria have been established for this service type. *Weekday boardings per service revenue hour in peak and midday periods.
20 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U Useful Service TransLink strives to make its services useful for as many people as possible. By making transit a reliable, convenient, and comfortable TIME PERIODS FOR choice, TransLink provides more options for its customers, alongside SERVICE PLANNING high-quality transportation services to as many people as possible. Because service levels and demand vary throughout the day, many Providing useful service relates to TransLink adapting services to meet guidelines have different targets and the region’s travel and mobility needs in ways that maximize ridership, thresholds for different time periods: provide basic coverage, and/or support long-term ridership growth. While Peak Weekday: the design of service will not be the same in every part of the region, 6:00 – 9:00 am and 3:00 – 6:00 pm TransLink’s approach to providing service will be consistent. TransLink Midday Weekday: has a variety of policy, planning, and design guideline documents that 9:00 am – 3:00 pm identify approaches to improving access to transit and accessibility, Evenings (all days): including the Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines. 6:00 pm – 12:00 midnight Saturday: There are many elements of a transit trip—on the website or looking 8:00 am – 6:00 pm at a map, at the stop or station, on the bus or train—that impact Sunday/Holiday: a person’s perception and experience of the quality of service. 9:00 am – 6:00 pm While it is important for TransLink to measure as many elements of the customer experience as possible, many of these factors fall outside of the realm of service planning and decision-making. Such passenger amenities as good lighting, covered bicycle parking, and real-time bus arrival information are addressed in TransLink’s Transit Passenger Facility Design Guidelines.
21 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U.1 Passenger Load What is it? Useful Service Passenger load is a measure of how full a transit vehicle is, on average, at its busiest point or peak on a route. Why does it matter? Passenger load helps TransLink determine how full or crowded our services become while in service. If a bus or train only ever has a low passenger load, it could mean either there is too much service on a route REFERENCE: TRANSIT for current demand or a lower-capacity transit vehicle should be used. PASSENGER FACILITY DESIGN GUIDELINES If a bus or train has a high passenger load, it could mean there is Responsibility for delivering not enough service or a higher capacity transit vehicle is needed. A effective transit facilities is often high passenger load can contribute to a negative riding experience, shared between local jurisdictions, such as standing for an uncomfortable amount of time, struggling developers, and TransLink and its many project partners. With so to get on or off the vehicle, or being passed up, which can lead many potential players involved in to customers being late or missing an important connection. the delivery of transit passenger environments, the Transit Passenger How is it measured? Facility Design Guidelines serve as a principal reference for ensuring Passenger load is measured using the peak load factor. The peak design consistency and excellence load factor is the ratio of average passengers carried versus the across all modes, projects, and environments. The Guidelines capacity or space available on a vehicle, expressed as a percentage. are intended for all parties A passenger load factor of 100% means the vehicle is at capacity. involved in the planning, design, implementation, and operation The peak load factor is calculated by dividing the average of transit passenger facilities. load on a transit vehicle at its busiest point by the number of spaces (seats plus standing space) provided on each trip. The capacity of TransLink’s various transit vehicles is provided in 3.1 Vehicle Capacity Reference Table. These capacities account for a reasonable amount of space for both seated and standing passengers.
22 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Passenger load is a key indicator of a passenger’s level of comfort. Passengers who have a choice between sitting or standing or, if required to stand, have enough space to move freely through the Useful Service vehicle and will feel more comfortable during their journey. Definition of Load Factors for Passenger Comfort LOAD FACTOR (% OF CAPACITY UTILIZED) RAPID SERVICE TYPE ALL OTHER SERVICE TYPES »» All seats are full and all standing space is occupied. »» The vehicle is overcrowded, and accessing the doors may be difficult for many passengers. 100% or higher »» Standing passengers will need to step off the bus to let others exit. »» Pass-ups are likely at some stops. SERVICE »» All seats are full and most standing space is occupied. »» The vehicle is crowded, and accessing the doors may be difficult for some passengers. 84% to 99% »» Standing passengers will need to shift position as other passengers board/exit. »» All seats are occupied, and half of »» All seats are occupied, and several the passengers are standing. passengers are standing. »» Some passengers will have »» Some passengers may have to move around 67% to 83% to move around for others to for others to board or exit the bus. board or exit the train. »» All seats are occupied, and about one- »» Most seats are occupied, and a few third of all passengers are standing. passengers are standing. 51% to 66% »» Boarding or exiting the train »» Boarding or exiting the bus occurs without difficulty. occurs without difficulty. »» All seats are occupied, and about one- »» Most seats are occupied, and people need to quarter of all passengers are standing. sit next to each other if they want a seat. 34% to 50% »» Boarding or exiting the train »» Passengers standing are doing so occurs without difficulty. by choice, not necessity. »» Seats may be available for some »» Half of the seats (or less) are occupied, boarding passengers. and no passengers are standing. »» A few passengers will choose to stand. »» Few passengers need to sit next to someone. 0% to 33% »» Passengers have some freedom in where they can sit. Note: The load factor range may change as the number of seats on a vehicle changes. Descriptions of load factors for passenger comfort are adapted from the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual.
23 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Acceptable average peak load factors vary by service type and time of day. Most customers expect transit to be busier (with fewer seats available) during peak commute periods, and Useful Service acceptable load factors are set higher during these periods. Guideline: Maximum Acceptable Average Passenger Load Factor SERVICE TYPE PEAK WEEKDAY MIDDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY EVENING Load factor Rapid No more than No more than 100% or higher 15% of trips. No more than 5% of trips. No more than 25% of trips. No more than 84% to 99% 50% of trips. 25% of trips. 67% to 83% All Day Frequent* No more than No more than 10% of trips. No more than 5% of trips. 51% to 66% No more than 15% of trips. No more than 50% of trips. 25% of trips. Peak Frequent No more than No more than *For services 10% of trips. No more than 5% of trips. operated with No more than 15% of trips. No more than vehicles designed 50% of trips. 25% of trips. for highway operation, the load Standard No more than No more than No more than factor guideline 10% of trips. 5% of trips. 5% of trips. remains the same No more than No more than No more than as the load factor 50% of trips. 25% of trips. 10% of trips. guideline for the service type; Basic No more than No more than No more than these vehicles are 10% of trips. 5% of trips. 5% of trips. designed to have No more than No more than No more than a higher seated 50% of trips. 25% of trips. 10% of trips. capacity and lower standing capacity. Peak Only – No more than No more than Limited 10% of trips. No more than 5% of trips. No more than 15% of trips. No more than 50% of trips. 25% of trips. Special NightBus In recognition of the different type of service that NightBus provides, TransLink has different expectations for crowding on NightBus which are addressed through a separate strategy. SeaBus SeaBus, by regulation, has a fixed capacity that cannot be exceeded, and measures of its usability will vary from other service types. West Coast West Coast Express does not conform to load factor guidelines, Express but rather responds to passenger capacity levels.
24 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U.2 Stop Spacing What is it? Useful Service Stop spacing is the distance between stops along a route. Why does it matter? Stop spacing has an impact on the speed and reliability of a service, as well as on a customer’s ability to access a service. Too many stops make travel slow and transit less useful and convenient. Too few stops mean less opportunity to access a service, even if it travels close by. The need for fast and reliable transit service is balanced with providing convenient access to the system when considering where stops should be placed. How is it measured? Stop spacing is measured by dividing the total distance of a given route by the total number of stops on the route minus 1. This measure provides average stop spacing in metres. While the average stop spacing on a line should fall between the ranges provided in the guidelines, the actual distance between any two stops on a route can vary, depending on such factors as: »» topography »» road design »» land use »» location of sidewalks
25 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Guideline: Stop Spacing Useful Service Rapid 800m–1500m average All Day Frequent 300m–800m average Peak Frequent 300m–800m average Standard 250m–400m average Basic 250m–400m average Peak Only– Limited 300m–800m average Notes: »» B-Lines or routes operating on highways will have wider stop spacing. »» For areas where existing land uses will not generate passenger trips—e.g., agricultural, heavy industrial, or low-density areas—exceptions to the stop spacing guidelines may be applied. »» Special: stop spacing for these services is provided on a case by case basis. »» Standard & Basic: stops in areas with high concentrations of seniors, people with disabilities, and other special needs may be spaced closer together to facilitate easier access to transit.
26 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U.3 Service Frequency What is it? Useful Service Service frequency is how often a transit vehicle picks up passengers at a stop; for example, a bus might arrive every 10 minutes during peak commute periods, while a West Coast Express train might arrive every 30 minutes. Why does it matter? The higher the frequency and the more attractive and useful the service, the less coordination is required to time connections between routes. TransLink balances needs for frequency across the network and allocates resources to provide the most efficient service to the most riders. How is it measured? Service frequency is measured by how often, on average, a trip occurs on a given transit line. Guidelines include minimum and target frequencies that vary depending on type of service, time of day (e.g., peak, midday, evening, night), and direction of travel. Overview of Service Frequency Minutes past the hour 00:15 00:30 00:45 00:60 10 min service 15 min service 30 min service 60 min service
27 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Guideline: Service Frequency SERVICE TYPE PEAK WEEKDAY MIDDAY WEEKDAY EVENING WEEKEND/HOLIDAY Useful Service Rapid Every 10 minutes Every 10 minutes Every 15 minutes Every 10 minutes or better in both or better in both or better in both or better in both directions. directions. directions. directions. All Day Every 15 minutes Every 15 minutes Every 15 minutes Every 15 minutes Frequent or better in both or better in both or better in both or better in both directions. directions. directions, dropping directions. to every 30 minutes or better in late evening. Peak Frequent Every 15 minutes or better in peak direction. Every 30 Service frequency during other time periods will vary. minutes or better in non-peak direction. Standard Every 15 to 30 minutes Every 15 to 30 minutes Every 15 to 30 minutes Every 15 to 30 minutes in both directions. in both directions. in both directions, in both directions. dropping to every 60 minutes or better in late evening. Basic* Every 30 to 60 minutes Every 30 to 60 minutes Every 30 to 60 minutes Every 30 to 60 minutes in both directions. in both directions in both directions in both directions (if provided). (if provided). (if provided). Peak Only – Limited Every 15 to 30 minutes No service provided. No service provided. No service provided. in the peak direction. NightBus Every 15 to 60 minutes during late night period only, depending on demand. Every 15 minutes Every 15 minutes in Every 15 to 30 minutes Every 15 to 30 minutes SeaBus or better in both both directions. in both directions. in both directions. Special directions. West Every 30 minutes. No service provided. No service provided. No service provided. Coast Express *Basic services are tailored based on community needs; they may not offer service for all day or time periods.
28 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U.4 Span of Service KEY CONSIDERATIONS What is it? Span of service decisions consider Useful Service several factors, including: Span of service is the hours of operation for a specific transit service, »» performance of the earliest from the time of departure of the first trip of the day at the first stop, and latest trips on the route to the time of arrival of the last trip of the day at the last stop. »» demographic or land use changes to an area served by the route Some services run only during weekday commute times, some services »» service to connecting rapid transit stations to meet operate all day, and others run all day and late into the night. the first or last train Why does it matter? Span of service, like frequency, is influenced by demand and travel patterns along a route. The more passenger demand is spread out over an entire day and into the evening, the longer the span of service. How is it measured? Span of service is measured as the minimum time period service is provided. Minimum span of service guidelines define the earliest and latest times different types of service should operate. Higher ridership services will have longer spans of service, and lower ridership services will have shorter spans of service. Span of service guidelines vary depending on service type, current travel patterns—as indicated by ridership levels during different times of day—and expected travel demand patterns, such as service to new employment centres. Minimum Span of Service for all services types Peak Midday Peak Evening WEEKDAY Late night 6am 8am 10am 12am 2pm 4pm 6pm 8pm 10pm 12am 2am 4am 6am Weekday Saturday Sunday Note: West Coast Express service is a specialized commuter service All services Some services NightBus and does not conform to these Span of Service coverage periods.
29 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Guideline: Span of Service SERVICE TYPE WEEKDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY/HOLIDAY Useful Service Rapid 5:00 am to 1:00 am 6:00 am to 1:00 am 7:00 am to 1:00 am All Day Frequent 5:00 am to midnight 6:00 am to midnight 7:00 am to midnight Peak Frequent 5:00 am to midnight 6:00 am to midnight, 7:00 am to midnight, if provided if provided Standard 6:00 am to 9:00 pm 7:00 am to 9:00 pm 8:00 am to 9:00 pm Basic* 6:00 am to 8:00 pm 8:00 am to 8:00 pm 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Peak Only – Limited 6:00 am to 9:00 am and/ No service provided No service provided or 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Span may vary greatly between 11:00 pm and 8:00 am depending NightBus on route and day, but core hours are 1:00 am to 5:00 am SeaBus 6:00 am to 1:00 am 6:00 am to 1:00 am 8:00 am to 11:00 pm Special Westbound: 5:00 am No service provided No service provided; West to 9:00 am holiday service varies Coast Eastbound: 3:00 pm Express to 8:00 pm *Basic services are tailored based on community needs; they may not offer service for all day or time periods.
30 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines U.5 Punctuality and Regularity CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SERVICES What is it? Useful Service TransLink plans for timed-transfers Punctuality means the transit service will arrive and leave between low frequency services on schedule and is also referred to as on-time performance (basic and standard types) and other low frequency or special service or schedule adherence. Regularity refers to a consistent types. Timed connections between time between transit vehicles along the same route. low frequency services should continue to be established, when Punctuality and regularity are factors of reliability. Reliable services appropriate, at transit exchanges, arrive on time, or close to it, every day or arrive within consistent bus loops, rapid transit stations, and other key locations to allow headways between vehicles (e.g. every 15 minutes). Reliability is safe and convenient transfers. one of the most important qualities of great transit service. Un-timed transfers/connections are expected for trips on, or Why does it matter? between, more frequent services. Inconsistent services that arrive late or depart early result in unreliable service and longer, inconsistent wait times for passengers. Unreliable service can also lead to overcrowded buses followed closely by near- empty ones—called “bus bunching.” As buses get delayed, there will be more passengers than normal waiting at the next stop. The extra boarding time will make the bus even later, and the delays greater. Many factors can delay transit and impact punctuality and regularity, such as traffic, construction, collisions, detours, volume of passengers, and weather. As service becomes more frequent there is a reduced dependence on the punctuality of any single transit vehicle. In these instances, a consistent headway, or regularity, between vehicles is an important factor in measuring reliability.
31 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines How is it measured? Punctuality is measured by comparing the number of on-time trips Useful Service leaving at timing points along a route to the total number of trips for the route.1 A trip is considered on time if it leaves a timing point between one minute earlier and three minutes later than the scheduled time (this definition is adopted from the International Bus Benchmarking Group, which provides industry standards). Punctuality is largely driven by location or corridor served (not service type), which can be impacted by unavoidable factors such as traffic, construction, congestion, weather, and other road events; therefore, guidelines for punctuality of services sharing rights-of-way with automobiles are set well below 100%. Guideline: Punctuality Departure at timing points Early On time Late Scheduled departure 0 mins -5 mins -3 mins -1 mins +1 mins +3 mins +5 mins All Day Frequent 65% Peak Frequent 70% Standard 75% Basic 75% Peak Only – Limited 70% NightBus 75% Special SeaBus 98% West Coast Express 98% Note: SeaBus trips must also arrive no more than 3 min late; West Coast Express trips must arrive at the terminus station no more than 5 mins late. 1 In this document, punctuality is measured using departure times, but we recognize that there are other ways to measure this criteria, including using arrival times.
32 TransLink Transit Service Guidelines Regularity is measured by determining whether a consistent headway (i.e., the number of minutes between transit vehicles) is maintained.2 TRAVEL TIME COMPETITIVENESS This measure is used only for high-frequency services, when transit Useful Service Travel time is the amount of time vehicles are scheduled along a route to run a consistent number a customer spends completing a of minutes apart, such as service every 15 minutes or better. journey, from start point to end point. Transit services competitive with single-occupant vehicle (SOV) travel times are attractive Guideline: Regularity to customers and can encourage transit use. Significantly slower transit trips than the SOV alternative SERVICE TYPE SERVICE CHARACTERISTICS are less attractive to customers and, without other demand Rapid Vehicle will arrive within 3 minutes of the management factors such as priced scheduled headway, 95% of the time. parking, can discourage people from using transit, especially All Day Frequent Service will operate at no more than 120% of those with other travel options. scheduled headway (gapping), 80% of the time. Many factors play into how Service will operate at no less than 25% of competitive a transit service is, and headway (bunching), 95% of the time. these factors must be balanced with customer access to destinations. As development occurs in busy areas, travel time competitiveness can be maintained by, among other measures, providing transit service priority and reducing or combining bus stops. 2 In this document, regularity is measured by evaluating headway consistency. This measures the same data and characteristics as excess wait time, another tool for evaluating regularity.
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